Pietermaritzburg residents cut off for months by flooded road

“When it is hot, children swim. To them this is a swimming pool,” says resident

Photo of flooded road

Residents say Cowper Road has been flooded since November. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

By Nompendulo Ngubane

26 April 2018

Residents of Sakha in Mkhondeni, Pietermaritzburg, say they have been complaining since November that their main access route, Cowper Road, is flooded.

“When it is hot, children swim. To them this is a swimming pool,” said resident Mduduzi Mfeka.

Although the water isn’t very deep, residents say ambulances and police vehicles won’t use the road to enter Sakha even when there is an emergency.

“It is sad. It is clear, they want someone to die before they take the matter seriously. We need help,” said Mfeka.

“Three weeks ago an ambulance refused to fetch me from home. I borrowed a wheelbarrow from my neighbour. I was put in a wheelbarrow to the main road,” said resident Thembi Shandu, who is 60.

Ward committee member Mbuyiswa Gasela said they had reported the problem to the municipality. GroundUp saw a copy of a letter emailed to Mayor Themba Njilo on 11 April.

“They have never responded. I went to the offices myself. What they do is ask for contact numbers. They promise to call back but they never do,” said Gasela.

“We have no road. We use paths that cross people’s yards. They are also complaining,” said Gasela.There are about 5,000 residents in Sakha according to Gasela.

Ward 37 councillor Sandra Lyne said she had intervened. “I reported the matter on 8 March to the roads department and environmental affairs. I have spoken to the owner of the land. The matter is being dealt with by the officials. It is a long standing complex problem involving the wetland with no easy solution,” said Lyne.

Msunduzi Municipality acknowledged receipt of GroundUp’s queries but had not responded at the time of publication.